Web series ‘Scam 1992‘ has been one of the most-watched programs on a digital device in recent years. Director and actors both did a superb job reenacting the Harshad Mehta Scam, from the apt story to the on-point acting and covering all the details.
Besides stockbroking, Harshad Mehta was an avid enthusiast of vehicles. When Harshad Mehta imported the Lexus LS 400, he was the only one in the country. People couldn’t even dream of buying such high-end cars in the 1990s.
In the early 1990s, when Mehta already had 15-20 cars in his garage, he likely didn’t mind paying a whopping amount of Rs 45 lakh for the LS 400. It was a first-generation Lexus LS 400 codenamed XF10, a high-end luxury automobile with 250 horsepower and 353Nm Torque from a massive 4000 cc V8 engine connected to a four-speed automatic transmission, and a sedan that was rarely seen on Indian roads at the time. It used to take 8.5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 kmph , with a top speed of 250 kmph.
SCAM 1992 : Real VS Reel
After watching the web series “Scam 1992”, many of us yearned for a Harshad Mehta’s car. But what if I told you that I knew something that you didn’t know? The Lexus model depicted in Scam 1992 is not the same as the one owned by Harshad Mehta.
The car featured in Scam 1992 was a second-generation Lexus LS 400.It was a 1997 model. The first-generation Lexus LS 400 was, on the other hand, the original Lexus that “Real” Harshad used to be owned.
Harshad Mehta’s Lexus LS400: Amazing Facts
- The LS 400 was one of the first luxury sedans to come equipped with an automatic tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with SRS airbags, electrically adjustable seat belts, and an electrochromic rear-view mirror.
- Its cabin was quieter than that of the rival target BMW 735i (E32) and Mercedes-Benz 420 SE (W126), with 58 dB at 100 mph, and had a higher top speed, a lower drag coefficient, and less curb weight.
- It received the Car of the Year Japan award when it was first introduced in 1989.
- The LS 400 made Consumer Reports 2007 list of recommended vehicles that regularly last 320,000 km or more, with proper maintenance.
Lexus LS400 role in the downfall of Harshad Mehta
You’ve probably heard the quote before- “Sometimes the things you love the most, end up being too injurious to your health. Harshad Mehta’s car played a pivotal role in his downfall. At the time, Sucheta Dalal, then a columnist for The Times of India, noticed the LS 400 outside the headquarters of State Bank of India and wondered how a stockbroker could afford a car that wasn’t yet launched in India.
She conducted an investigation after discovering this, which revealed how he had swindled money using loopholes in Indian banking systems and used it to trade on the stock market.
Auction of Mehta’s Lexus LS400
As data and proof were gathered, it was revealed that Harshad Mehta had defrauded banks to the tune of Rs 4000 crore, coinciding with the stock market’s downturn. To repay the money, the Court’s assets are being auctioned off, including his cherished Lexus LS 400. Harshad only attends the auction to see who has purchased his prized Lexus. It was purchased by Mumbai’s aristocracy, entrepreneur Raja Dhody, who was one of the first to own one of the quick and furious autos.
A Still from “Scam 1992” Web series
In an interview, Raja Dhody said, “Yes, I did buy Harshad Mehta’s, Toyota Lexus. Getting your hands on an imported car back then was a big deal, therefore I didn’t want to pass up the chance. I recall making my way around the courtroom to finish the formalities.”